Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Utada Hikaru covers Green Day

(Originally 23 December 2005)

As part of her Holiday Live Special, UH performed two songs. First up was a cover of Green Day's Boulevard of Broken Dreams - pretty catchy tune - the second being an even sparser arrangement of Passion. For a limited time, you can download the 300 kbps stream from the above link, although you'll need Windows Media Player to unlock the DRM. I don't quite understand myself, but I digress.

I wasn't too sure what to expect. I suppose a repeat of her textbook performance of Deep River for the Golden Disc Awards in 2002. She's in a studio, it's basically pre-recorded, what can possibly go wrong? In short, Passion went over really well, but it was no Deep River awards performance (she had some trouble pitching). I think that even her Simple and Clean performance was better a better studio performance.

I don't claim to know anything about Green Day, but from what I heard from the radio (me, listen to radio? I'm surprised, too), the style is somewhat tense but the voice is not edgy. It could just be UH's own interpretation, but her voice had an edge all the way through. Her dynamic range was pretty narrow between verse and chorus. It was like she was shouting during what I felt should have been quieter passages, and had no more room to grow when she should have been louder. The contrast would have been a lot more apparent when crescendo-ing to the chorus.

Other than that, there was nothing wrong. She didn't make mistakes. And if the perpetual hard line was her intention, then she did it well. I thought the lack of variety took away the intensity after a while.

What can I say, I'm the eternal critic.